Two months after the Senate first passed their version of the war supplemental, the House passed the final version of the bill yesterday, 308-114. Now all that stands between the military and a delicious $37.1 billion is the stroke of President Obama’s pen, coming in the next few days.
We’ve reported on this bill twice already, tracking its progress through Congress.
A quick recap:
The Senate version of the bill, passed May 27, contained $58.8 billion in spending, including $37.1 billion for the war, over $13 billion for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, $5.1 billion for FEMA, and $2.9 billion for Haiti disaster relief, as well as a host of smaller expenditures.
The House then passed its version of the bill on July 1, which accepted the Senate version while adding $22.8 billion in spending fully offset by $23.5 billion in cuts and law modifications. This included a $10 billion education jobs fund, $1 billion for youth summer jobs, $5 billion in Pell grants, $4.6 billion to settle two class-action lawsuits, and $701 million for border security.
The bill then got sent back to the Senate, which was unable to invoke cloture on the new amendments on July 22 and ended up passing…the exact same bill they passed back on May 27.
Ultimately, the House decided to play along, passing the original Senate version of the bill yesterday. Thus, despite the title, the bill contains no funding for summer jobs and quite a bit for the war.
The bill created quite a bit of controversy, becoming a flash point for pro- and anti-war members of Congress. Indeed, House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI), despite steering the bill through committee, voted “no.” The bill’s passage was not helped by the release of secret war documents on Wikileaks just a few days before, but ended up clearing the House in a bipartisan vote.